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stinky

2017 Polaris Outlaw 110 starter turns slow when cold

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I have an Outlaw 110 that will struggle to turn the engine over. Jump starting doesn't help other than the battery will drain LONG before the bike eventually starts, so is required. If you keep messing with it long enough it will eventually magically begin to crank fine and sometimes finally start. Once we finally get the bike to start and warm it up thoroughly, it will turn over and start just fine the rest of the day like nothing ever happened... next day it won't turn over again.  Internet research has found lots of people saying they replaced starters, starter clutch, wiring, etc. but with only about 50/50 success rate for their particular problems... and I never found anybody describing a problem like mine, so I'm looking for advice/experience. Would rather not just start blindly throwing parts at it. Does anybody have any thoughts/ideas?

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Sounds like a bad battery to me. Something may be draining that battery. get yourself a trickle charger and keep it charged up and see if it happens.

 

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5 hours ago, Ajmboy said:

Sounds like a bad battery to me. Something may be draining that battery. get yourself a trickle charger and keep it charged up and see if it happens.

 

I agree... it does seem similar to a bad battery, and I haven't yet ruled that out 100%.  I didn't recharge it after the last time I was trying to start the bike and it's still sitting at 12.52v (after more than 24 hours of rest). The problems arose while we were out camping, so my resources were limited at the time. Now that we're back home I'll be able to do some better testing but based on what the bike did while we were jumping it, I would be surprised if it turns out to be the battery.

5 hours ago, Frank Angerano said:

When the bike is ice cold is it a little hard to push ? 

It has paddles on it as we only use it in the sand, but it does seem to roll perfectly freely otherwise.

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I'm aware this doesn't prevent batteries from failing, but I do keep all our bikes connected to Battery Tenders while at home via hard wired plugs.

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My daughter's 2017 outlaw 110 had to replace the battery after a month. Did the same thing. Ever since I replaced the battery I keep it on a battery maintainer had not had any issues since.

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Well now that I'm back home and had some time to mess with it, I did a proper jump start and it did make a big difference (I was camping earlier and my "jump start" wasn't the best setup). This leads me to believe the battery is defective after all. I have ordered one and will report back.

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The factory Polaris battery for the youth ATVs are not the best. They need to be left on a maintainer anytime the vehicle is not used.

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3 hours ago, colin james said:

The factory Polaris battery for the youth ATVs are not the best. They need to be left on a maintainer anytime the vehicle is not used.

I'm not sure if my battery was original or not... I bought the bike about a year ago when it was about a year old already. The battery is branded "GS". I kept it on a Battery Tender but not sure about the previous owner. I think I would have been quicker to blame the battery if I hadn't been keeping it on a tender. Not only did I have a feeling of invincibility because I was properly maintaining it, but when I was loading up for the trip I unplugged it and the bike started right up giving no clue the battery was troubled. A day or two later at the campground... different story. I ordered a Yuasa as I've had good luck with them in the past.

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I believe the GS battery is the original one. I did what you are doing with an aftermarket battery and have had no issues since I did. Well worth the extra money.

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Well it turns out my fears of throwing money at incorrect solutions were justified... I guess.  Received a new battery, activated it, fully charged it, no change in starting ability (well it MAYBE turns over a very tiny bit better, but still wouldn't start without a jump). After the battery didn't fix it, I thought I found the problem... a little corrosion at the starters positive wire connection. Cleaned that up and again maybe another small improvement but it still isn't turning over like it used to and didn't start without a jump. It seems to turn over great when I hardwire a 12v car battery directly to the starter input, so I'm going to dig up my starter relay and check wires, etc.

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In the service manual  there is at flow chart test to diagnose the starter. it also gives you possible causes for issue you are having. One thing to consider is that a car battery has a lot more cranking amps than an ATV battery this can cause the starter to work fine and mislead to what the actual problem is.It  is possible that your starter is goining bad. 

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Today I pulled the starter relay out to check for water damage/corrosion. It is (was) sealed very well and water definitely did not damage it. BUT... the contacts don't look the greatest to me. Now I'm no pro, but I have been repairing electronics for about 35 years and have seen relay contacts worse than these before and still be in service. My experience is with stuff that's usually lower current than this though (stereos, 2 way radios, computers/laptops, video games, etc.). Does anybody here have any input on the likelihood that these contacts are the source of my troubles? In the meantime I'm going to find out how much a replacement would be and possibly try to clean this one up.

relay1.jpg

relay2.jpg

Edited by stinky

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Honestly I don’t think that they look bad. Sparks happen at the point of contact and the arcing is normal for that. The clip that the part sits in also could be a problem if it’s not seated correctly or bent or getting stuck. You can hit the contacts with a little sand paper and give it a shot but my guess would be the starter needs replacement. I would change the relay as well.  

 

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The bike has been starting fine the last few days but I don't trust it as it previously wouldn't start in it's current configuration and I have done nothing to change that. 

I had some time to work on it today and pulled the starter to open it up. It's like new... clean, no signs of wear, bearings spin free and smooth, no leaks, brushes 7mm at their smallest point (spec is 5mm). While the starter was out I could very easily spin the starter clutch one way and it easily locked solid the other direction.

Based on symptoms I saw with the bike when it wouldn't start I believe the issue is that the electrical system is not getting enough "juice" from the battery to the starter due to bad connections, worn relay contacts, too small of wires, or maybe a combination of them all. Since the bike is currently starting I can't really confirm this though, so today I hard wired some significantly larger than stock wires directly from the starter to the battery compartment. The ground I permanently connected at both ends. The hot I connected at the starter and left unconnected near the battery. Next time the bike wont turn over I'll quickly and easily be able to bypass the factory wiring and determine if that's the problem or not. After I did this I realized that the factory ground could have been the issue just as well as the positive side so my new ground could potentially be bypassing the problem... I might go back in there and disconnect it from the battery for now.   The factory ground wire is tiny... about half the size of the hot wires.

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Sounds like some nice process of elimination work👍🏻   Have you tried to swap out that relay just to eliminate that as a problem? Sometime it’s not the contact between the points but he relay armature itself that brings to two points together. They may not be coming in straight and making week contact.  

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if its the same with jumping it then its not the battery.  What @Frank Angerano said makes sense testing to see if its hard to push in gear (like if you were trying to push-start it.

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when it's hard to push with a gear inlaid. I'm typing on wrong engine oil.
once had the problem with a Suzuki dr 650 she read in cold weather did not start it was 20w50 in it after an oil change to 10w40, she also started at less than 7 degrees easily.
Of course I do not know what oil your machine must have or how cold it is with you

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After hard wiring in a "starter circuit bypass" for testing/emergency use, it never acted up again. I used the bike for another trip or two to the dunes but have now sold it and upgraded my son to a TRX250. I suspect that the battery was the only problem all along and that my make shift jump start method wasn't as good as I thought it was.  Thank you to all who offered help.

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